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Salamun Alaikum (Peace be upon you)




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Copyright © 2009 Joseph A Islam: Article last modified 7th October 2011


The Quran fundamentally refers to 'Sunna' in two main types of contexts both supporting a central theme. 

(1)    Sunnatu-lawalina

(2)    Sunnata-llahi

The first literally means ‘ways of the former people’ and is used to describe ancient nations who mainly rejected the truth and were visited by God’s wrath. The second term signifies the 'way of God' and has been consistently made use of by the Quran to signify that there is no change in the way the Lord deals with these persistent transgressors. He does not change the ‘goal posts’ nor is He unfair. He is perfectly consistent and absolute in His judgment.


Neither of these terms are used by the Quran to describe the Sunna of the Prophet.


Despite the above usages, isolated, often half quoted verses are used out of context by the Muslim clergy to support the Prophetic sunna.


A common example is quoted from verse 59:7 of the Quran.

"And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, leave it. And fear Allah: truly Allah is severe in punishment"

If one consults the verse, one will note that the quote is completely devoid of context which clearly refers to the booty acquired during war. The Quran is clearly informing the community through the Prophet that whatever of the booty the Prophet allocates, take it and whatever he withholds, abstain from it. This is with the view that the gain does not accumulate solely amongst the rich.



"Whatever God has restored to His Messenger from the people of the towns, it is for God and for the Messenger, and for the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, so that it may not be a thing taken by turns among the rich among you, and whatever the Messenger gives you, accept it, and from whatever he forbids you, keep back, and be careful of (your duty to) God; surely God is severe in retributing (evil)"


The above verse has nothing to do with sanctioning the Sunna or the Sahih Ahadith which were not even formally compiled until centuries after the death of the Prophet.


Other commonly cited verses and interpretations are covered by articles [1] and [2] below.






Sadly, as many Muslims never check the veracity of the statements they often hear from their learned clergy with the Quran for themselves, they are never alighted to the problems of their interpretation. In this way, misinformation is passed on generation to generation and becomes cemented into popular thought.


Alas, if the Quran was only studied and not ignored.



"And the messenger will say: O my Lord! Indeed! my own people / community (Arabic: Qawm)  took this Quran as a forsaken thing / ignored it / abandoned it (Arabic: Mahjuran)"



Related Articles:

(1)    Does 'Hikmah' (Wisdom) Mean Sunna of the Prophet Muhammad? (pbuh)

(2)    Following the Example of the Prophet - What is that Example?

(3)    Understanding the term 'Sunna' from a Quran's Perspective

(4)    The Difference Between Hadith and Sunna

(5)    The Concept of Zakah from the Quran



Joseph Islam

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